tv Hearing on Afghan Security Forces CSPAN February 13, 2016 2:08am-3:25am EST
we have 11 minutes left. i am feeling like we probably ought to suspend the hearing at this point and go vote. supposed to take about 40 minutes. and then come back and reconvene for your testimony and question mr. child. i apologize for the delay but look forward to hearing from you and thank you for understanding. >> thank you very much for your
patience and waiting for us to get done with the vote. mr. child, let's hear your testimony. >> thank you. chair woman hartzler, ranking member speier, distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss capability gaps in the afghan national security forces. as the deputy inspector general for overseas contingency operations i manage the dod oversight for operation freedom sentinel in afghanistan. as the chair of the interagency southwest asia joint planning group i helped coordinate oversight over the several inspector generals in afghanistan. i serve a similar role for operation inherent resolve. the iraq-syria counter isil mission. i describe my role in more detail in my written state.
regarding afghanistan security forces my observations are based on oversight and recent published reports. we view this as two fold. balancing the requirements to provide near term fighting capability against a longer term need to build the afghan's capacity to sustain their fighting forces. in building effective national institutions shortcomings in afghan sustaining capacity are a recurrent them into the oversight work and i would like to highlight three examples. supply and maintenance, property accou accountability and key commodities. for many years, u.s. and nato partners emphcized growing the operation and pushed supplies to the afghanistan units rather than requiring units to pull supplies based on need and
validated requirements. the result is the afghans have little experience are demand-driven support system. a recent asis -- assessment found the afghanistan forces were unable to properly forecast their requirements. we reported in 2015 that the ministry of defense and interior didn't have the ability to control the vehicles secured by the u.s. and coalition partners. the long-term solution should be the implementation of a strategy to place officials to maintain equipment and train afghans to conduct their own maintenance with a goal of achieving full afghanistan responsibility for maintenance in 2021. in april of 2015, we found a
lack of adequate internal controls to manage fuel and ammunition. we reported deficiency in control regarding fuel for the inte interior ministry. we found there was no reasonable assistance that all u.s. funded fuel valued at $38 million was used for its intended purpose. future dod ig work in 2016 will include assessments of u.s. efforts to build an independent afghanistan security forcess and intelligence capabilities. we will soon evaluate the progress of u.s. special operation forces in training, advising, and assisting the afghan security forces. we will send a team of intelligence specialist to assess progress this month in developing effective afghan intelligence operations. looking forward my office is
engaged in a review of current programs and operations to identify future oversight work as lead inspector general for operation freedom sentinel. as you recall congress created the call for overseas operations in the 2015 national defense authorization act. the ig's of the department of defense, department of state, and united states state agency for international development execute the lead ig plan mandate which was enacted to improve all of government oversight and contingency operations. we appreciate the support of this committee, subcommittee, as we discharge our oversight responsibilities and i look forward to your questions. thank you. >> thank you, mr. child. to start the questions, mr. abizaid, i was wondering what is the rational for beginning to draw down before the upcoming summer fighting season and
before a new u.s. administration has an opportunity to conduct its own assessment of the mission and needed troop levels? >> so my understanding of the draw down timeline is not that it will begin in the summer of 2016. the president has directed that general campbell try to keep at the 9800 level through as much of 2016 as possible so we can do in the train, advise and assist commission and the ct commission to get the most out of what week. the rational for the draw down to the 5500 is about how we set ourselves up for a future sustainable presence in the country at key locations outside of kabul. the fact we will maintain facilities in other areas are key differences between the plan
that was originally approved and the one that president obama revised and i think that provide us the kind of flexibility we need to adjust the mission accordingly. >> very good. thank you, colonel michael, afghanistan security forces have capability gaps and these include the essential foundational activities that professional millitaries need in order to be efficient, effective and lethal. what limiting factors are precluding the andsf from sufficiently and effectively establishing these capabilities? >> ma'am, i would say there is not anything specifically -- i would not say there is anything specifically that is limiting them. this capability just takes time. first there is time and depth of the material and time and training. as we look specifically at the past, we are feeling the a-29.
there is four platforms in the country and four more will there by april. there is a total of eight more that will show up after that. so part of it is securing the equipment on time and the other part is training that capability, developing pilots is something that takes, you know, it takes a lot of specificity and time. >> how will the development of these capabilities be affected by the upcoming draw down to 5500 u.s. troops? >> ma'am, the 5500 also has the capacity to maintain, train, advise and assist the afghanistan air force and in addition we are focused on train, advise and assistance to
the security forces. >> mr. breedlove, in your professional opinion, how did you believe the afghan taliban would react if the forces were able to target the afghan taliban directly as part of the counterterrorism mission and outside of the current policy in only extremist type situations? >> i think the best way i would rephrase is it we have seen how the insurge and particularly the talibans react when we had u.s. coalition agents in the fight backed up by their own air support and we saw adjustments with how they approach their tactics. with your specific question, i don't think we would see much change as far as the fight on the ground. i think the fighters on the ground will adjust.
they are an adaptable enemy. they will adjust to their environment. as we saw this year and same as we saw them adjust when u.s. combat forces were more aggressive than previous years. it doesn't stop them from fighting. at best we may see hesitation among some operations. we may see changes in how they maneuver but i think at a tactical level that would bow the most we were expecting to see. at a senior level, i don't think it would have much impact. most of the senior leaders are not in the country anyway. >> would direct targeting bring them to the table quicker and provide additional breathing room to the andsf and the afghan government? >> in my opinion, that could be a factor, one of many tools that could be applied. but in and of itself i don't
think that is enough. it would have to be one of many tools to help change their belief that they still have the time to win this fight. >> thank you. and has the department of defense made adequate progress in establishing oversight and accountability mechanisms within its command governance to minimize opportunities or identify quickly if they occur fraud, waste and abuse activities that have plagued certain aspects of the departme department's execution over the years? >> very briefly, no. partly because they don't have the resources for doing so. i think i note in my longer statement, which i offered to be made part of the record, that we have even noted some of the task
forces set-up to fight corruption have had to be abolished because there are no resources so i would say no. >> mr. child? >> i believe from our oversight is they have established systems but the problem is implementing fully the systems. i would offer three examples. they have begun the process of moving the afghans to electronic pay and information system. they have, the department, improved the process for identifying, training the proper both military and civilian advisors to conduct the train, advise and assist. and they have increased the enforcement of the commitment lede
letters. but again i would not say that they have adequately progressed in that. this is part of a process. i think there are also co complicating factors that are important to consider. you have illiteracy and general campbell said 70% of the problems he saw was based on leadership, both selecting and relieving commanders and senior leaders is based on these factors rather than compensation. and i don't think we have the stability of the advisors because the tours are nine months to a year. the contractor force is the institutional memory in afghanistan and that is a challenge. and finally as mr. sop pointed
out the insecurity of afghanistan to have both the department and oversight agencies checked, kicked the tires, beat down the range properly, at the proper level to check, we really are dependent on the afghans and their reporting. without i without implementing those systems where we can better defect where the money is used there is not adequate progress. but i do believe systems have been identified and probably put in place and will provide that progress. >> thank you. ranking member speier, questions? >> thank you. i want to apologize to all of the witnesses. many of the members who were here earlier wanted to be able to stay but because this is a get away day people schedule for such they have to make planes. i think this hearing is so important it should be held as a full committee hearing.
we are spending so much money in afghanistan. from the testimony we have heard today, there is virtually no accountability. but let's get through a couple of the points that you have made. colonel michael, you said in your statement significant long-term capability gaps remain in the areas of andsf leadership. rotary wing aviation, intelligence collection and dissimination, closed air. that is a significant indictment. if it is not improved in 2016 what are you going to do differently or recommend be done differently? >> the key thing to highlight is that it is a process. we talk about there is capability gaps in leadership. but it is something that is
being developed over time both at the tactical level and the co level. the main thing to reinforce is we have been building this force since 2009. when we started this, this was the american fight. we were in the lead. pulling -- >> i know all of that. the question is we have been there for a very long time now. at some point, if we don't put conditions on money coming in the spigot always being turned off, and never being turned off, then we are not going to get the kind of results we are looking for. if you don't develop a plan, and specific expectations that will take place in 2016, we will be there indefinitely with no success and with the american people literally pulling out their hair saying what are we doing here.
>> i don't think your answer frankly is adequate. let me and all of there others of you. if 2016 is as bad as 2015 what would you recommend be done differently? >> i would start with saying the capability gap you identified are the capability gaps that are among the most sophisticated aspect of the force we are still trying to build. ...
>> >> which is part of how we got to the drawdown and we are planning now the 38,000 - - 3,000 but they assume full responsibility for the security environment in 2015 and despite very real challenges that we anticipated as expected. the drawdown at 5500 does anticipate those gaps will read that we can make up
those gaps over time. i do not they did is indefinite investment. >> what should we do differently? >> i think 2016 will be as bad and i support the a judgment ahead of the national intelligence. >> i have four suggestions. number one fully support to ensure that general nicholson has the resources to combat that very day assessment. and what his needs are to bring him back and explain to this committee for what those needs are.
for an end to see what is going on. this congress should require the department of state for those that iraq and stack their programs for what succeeded in what has and. inquiry paying for those programs? they have never really done that. with the state department in secretary of defense. is to ask them to raki and stacked all programs at a minimum just give me some of the success stories and why and they cannot do it. all i got back was balloons and kites is happy talk.
we're happy -- helping the military. great. what program? if your budget -- budget is so limited you can find everything beloved type and security which is the most important? i with the status of the congress needs to do. they have to come up with real measurements of success. to spend that appropriation amassing real measurements of success. with a radiance state that is something they should hold their feet to the fire. >> i cannot argue especially in terms of agencies but that is beyond my expertise of the oversight organization to address the achsah policy with a policy
is decided and objectives are declared to see how that is implemented. to provide the general the opportunity after his assessment to be clear what he thinks to do his job in likewise it is important to discharge responsibilities. then they may change the policy in when they do is my job to see how that is implemented. >> there were two issues brought up this morning.
that i would take we should get a handle. money being spent on fuel to afghanistan to testify there is no accountability. to be sold on the black market is that effective? >> to be precise there is a reasonable assurance that it was used for the proper purpose. we could not pin down more precisely to have direct funding is that will address some portion of the concern paying for troops that are not there. >> so those that are in provinces that we don't time the ability to send
personnel to audit would suggest we have no way of knowing. is it if they are found shooting as members of the ascii and armed services? >> it is certainly the fact there are troops because it has been a tough year in they were able to hold their own. but how all the others are we paying for? is we have established as a mechanism to redress.
>> i feed my colleague mentioned we have a program now there're but it hasn't been implemented. to mention in the statement that is supposed to have all the great data and could not give a said the users. so we are relying on the afghans who have the incentive to lie because they can collect the money to fill in in the data we don't have the people of the ground. with fellow lovell of the core from the brigade is we have no visibility. so at the core level at looks good to go over to the pentagon to understated what is going space in afghanistan.
that is the parent problem. the matter how the mighty systems it is garbage did in in the garbage out. particularly in the country where there is no incentive but my concern is we saw were there are paper divisions and apparently if you listen to the afghan officials to explain the problem. and how many of those are just paper? >> we pay for the salaries of each and every afghan soldier. correct? >> we and our allies. we pay the bulk of that.
forces with the breeze above assessment indicated target them. to be sure we akkad that ability wherever they show up. >> today we talk about the individual country but it is a regional issue looking at the spectrum from what i understand libya is worse than syria but there isn't as much as reporting because the press cannot get there.
it cannot be over exaggerated. with the potential all out war that is very concerning to me. we need to make sure we keep our friends as strong as day qb to bring about stability. and talk about those individual thing this not just a of a process then seems to be broken bader procure assistant. and as they are trade with the air force base in if the nets have gone as planned so
where we sit today to the three years from now. >> the rest is that 2018. >> but they should all be there right now. >> it will take three years from now because of those delays to get the pilots trained so they can help carry out the fight. silicate as a result of the lawsuit is that correct? >> with a written statement in the footnotes. it's possible to do calculate how much that
costas by delaying the program three years? >> i assume there are some costs involved? we could take ill luck. >> but the situation along the ground if you can get the equipment that our soldiers in friends need to carry out the fight situations all across where contractors are salinas in preventing us from getting men and women the equipment that they need. would that change the fight? >> is a possible lead happen in september 28 may have had
>> going at 5500 but look at what they're doing with that support capability. >> the bids that it seems to me to pull this down to have that perception as long as they have fewer menander limited uniform would you pull down that be into it to said contractors back kid to do that say meet its three-year four times as much as we paid u.s. service personnel we're not being honest with the cost is
impossible to calculate how much more we spend on contractors as u.s. troops? big we have space done that type of assessment to take a specific contract or a specific program run by a the military then compare the cost. >> if i could make one final point it creates the problem with the united states soldier who makes a couple of thousand dollars a month sitting right next to a contractor who makes $10,000 a month and the soldiers that i talked to, it creates
accountability for afghan soldiers is a real problem that we work closely to understand. also to develop a comprehensive solution lead while is not fully in place yet working toward the integrated pay system to do mitigate opportunities. it is important initiative to put it in place and it has taken awhile to develop that terrain but it is something we are focused on. in terms of the difference between fighting season and 15 and 16, said general campbell with the secretary of defense with the national security agency has communicated the work to a
valuate fighting season in 15 and what changes the afghan forces need to make but we need to make. it is the clearer focus we're not blindly following the template but actually looking to improve upon so we do set ourselves up for success inset those conditions for the long term mission. >> as that relates to those troops can we be confident by the end of 2016 there is a system in place to have a confident understanding that the military service has? >> we are instituting the
biometric id card system. >> with and will they be distributed? >> by edna and middle of the year the integrated personal system is fully implemented in the middle of this year as well in the be transitioning. >> in terms of our intelligence capability we were surprised of the death and did not know for some time. what do we need to do for better intelligence. >> gone that particular
account we need to keep in mind that he was not out there. with that intelligence perspective he is surrounded by people that doesn't communicate in does not move. in from this particular situation to perpetuate the fact that he was alive. >> are you comfortable we have an of resources on the retuning id afghanistan? >> it is never perfect door never eat enough you can
>> who was watching the store on that? >> i think, i have to double checked it with either the air force contract for corps of engineers. >> get back to us of that. >> absolutely. >> is that the news caused going to be able to be supported? >> i don't know since the afghan government cannot pay for their military i don't know they can pay for that cost that is almost $3 million a year to maintain that building. >> then that will be a white elephant? >> we will pay for that.
>> would about of ministry of interior? >> we have a brand-new facility which we visited and that should be completed soon. at a cost of $100 million. >> on budget? >> no. i don't have those exact figures. >>. >> do we condition in the construction of these buildings on any accountability? >> not that i know of. that is the link the conversation but we did not
have any conditionality so basically 2013 was an advocate but they think the construction started before. >>. >> i agree fully with that. if you have long conversations that have been replaced but it was the whole issue you cannot stop to give them guns or bullets but the shiny objects that the local official ones on condition. that was the approach to the
conditionality. >> day you plan to go another round? civic dell happy to go briefly. >> this navy along a the alliance of suggestions the most vehicles now they can tell you where it is to shut it down to be recovered. it seems recuses save type of technology if it ends up in the hands of somebody we don't want to have that.
that we have with every ford vehicle in the country right now. to see the enemy riding around in the vehicles the united states purchased. coming from 9800 with the personnel that is the plan. >> yes, sir,. >> 50% of men and women with the contractors. >> county will be higher over the next 11 months for men and women in uniform? are they predominantly from the united states or local?
think with the afghan air force are the national security forces that is exactly what we need also leverage contractors in the military assessment. >> but you understand the point? -- eight july down but we put others in the exact same job they're not necessarily carrying rifles. i think the soldiers who are flying it would point out is
not who is trading the pilot to send the whole crew of back is just if we get it to you sooner or later. i don't have any further questions. >> one that many has raised is the fact that they have fallen short in terms of the aviation abilities with mr. scott to get the actual platform but it appears part of the problem is you deal with the population for the most part is illiterate.
so whether or not to be too sophisticated for the population we tried to train to commandeer. >> bay are significant with the afghan air force needs how we should build that force that the government can afford. we do focus technical trading on the high end skills with aviation maintenance with the pile the date of that aircraft that will be necessary to operate the air force that they need that with the sophistication we try to support that system with
contract did we in its -- maintenance also increasingly do the maintenance on their own. with those human capital shortages how we balance and plan for. >> congresswoman he made at a critical point that comes back to the resources that due to the lack of data we do not know right now how many personnel are literate the estimate is less than 30%. why? even though we spent
$200 million in literacy training, they don't have the ability because they don't have the resources to measure the effectiveness that to see it has improved. the literacy program read tide that we lost all visibility but more importantly how many are still in the military? when we ask the questions we're not getting users because the resources are not there sieur onto a very important point do we have
adequate resources to understand the capabilities? >> anybody else want to comment? >> compared to two years ago the threat to personnel i am concerned the embassy and the inability to move around the city of kabul or anywhere else. do you think that danger has increased? in and what can we do to mitigate those concerns?
>> since the drawdown the security environment in general has decreased and the withdrawal came alaska of capital so some of the security environment from that economic instability. so no question is diminished in in callable. there are specific set indicate that the attacks are down overall but from the dod perspective but to take those precautionary measures that they are adequately protected.
that with ground movements the lead is one of the calculations how much freedom of movement of that person know that is moving betted difficult security environment to ensure those that are serving there. >> are they moving on foot at all? >> there are of a couple of spots closer if you're moving out of any component. >> by vehicle? >> yes. >> is both vehicles did air
country the state department officials with the securities situation. and as they said they're very concerned about the safety of american troops coming civilians and contractors in in the realities of the situation is you can be assigned to afghanistan and never leave the embassy. that doesn't mean we should shut down because doing so -- diplomacy is not risk free just like a soldier takes a risk the same thing for a day and state employees.
it isn't risk free want to measure that but it takes its toll on the ability to trade. that is the reality of of the situation in. >> i appreciate your candor because many of our colleagues there is the expectation that there is movement and it is less dire in those other not able to be transferred? day you have any further comments? the image that has been my experience. >> one last question.
>> i would ask each member of the panel to give me two examples of success with the failure. >> i'll start. two examples first of all, this fighting season rehab talked about the problems we have seen in the concerns when it fell to the taliban. if formal we have seen from other elements that one of the course we don't cover to
do a very good job to address the dynamic security environment to have the television and threats to deal with with those operations across multiple aspects in fe dead quite well. i would also say that that was a display and in particular that they be shipping capability to support that is a critical aspect in their were critical after temporarily fell to the taliban and it has been critical in partner operations liken cantar to
disrupt in the indian subcontinent. >> with that special operations capability in particular. in with this fighting season but the other aspects of what we do to be very big successes. to have a partner who was focused to have control but they are prone to corruption in one sense to work together but that being said
it is a significant problem and so for the first time to address that challenge. >> that is a great question i will keep this very simple but two examples of success at the strategic level the fraction of the leadership with peace talks between afghans with the afghan security forces but that this is the exact opposite
of what i just highlighted siepi operational level for multiple captures in afghanistan had a strategic level to destabilize the government with the civil conflict again. >> i would say one success is ownership in that primary land forces that it took in with that program even though it is it perfect and there are areas to work work, there are a key success. in the program from that
local area to be tied in with that afghan security in that displaces the enemy hiding in plain sight. with that ability of that small persistence to put pressure on the taliban of the cooperation's that have the most impact done that the district level with those big operations to have the ability to shift and the thing that they can do
better is anticipate with the assault with the attacks so to anticipate when the enemy does something that is unexpected. >> i would like to follow-up on the comments to deal with the cooperation of national unity government. ed general campbell has insisted odd conditionality i actually met with their president who said i expect conditionality.
and that is a great success but the new regime is. so we have stepped up to the plate to get the home run but success along the same line when we work together we really do succeed that when my agents uncover the up price-fixing we really went to general campbell to explain a we had uncovered we have information in the extra $250 million they went over as a team to merely shut down the contract and
set up a procurement commission. >> that is fantastic. there is still many but up through now is the hundred pound gorilla the $8 billion we have spent on counter narcotics is a total abject failure the only reason the only difference has nothing to do with any of our programs but disease and weather that is the hundred pound gorilla that is what they warned us about years ago afghanistan will become a marco terrorist state. i have not seen anything announced by a the embassy
that with some housetop that. be an issue that is the abject failure is we really don't know what the capabilities are of the national security forces those are two serious failures and concerns. >> that intersection of a strategic improvement based on an oversight beginning with major general williamson to sought out from our organization a hard look with then nato trust fund challenge. but the surprising thing is
that the president has said the taliban is not the existential threat but is the loss of confidence of the contributing nations and to take our report to identify many problems that united states has a system outside the chase of command that therefore could independently assess the problems that the general took that partners to have an impact despite the fact it was bad and that is a very big part of that to
translate into the language so with that command it is a problem that has to be improved but going to the united states congress so we have had several reports like that with the direct funding of would speak to only - - with all the attempts to do good things i was serving to learn with the general was killed. trying to demonstrate his confidence he was meeting with afghan officials and
now it is general davis. in to make the difference with that conditionality on matters he lost his life. >> thank you for your testimony. i yield back. >> i cannot speak to everyone but i can that i have been down there and i can assure you there educated to capable to carry out that mission. one other suggestion might be the leadership of that